Gun control dilemma exposes US political system woes

By Liu Lulu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/25 23:18:40

Survivors of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School led hundreds of thousands in the #MarchforOurLives campaign over the weekend. Although Washington hosted the main event, over 800 sister protests were held across the US and around the world demanding an end to gun violence.

From last year's mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip to this year's Florida massacre, the frequency of gun murders in the US is astonishing. A poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in 2018 suggests that 69 percent of American citizens believe gun laws in the US should be tightened, the strongest level of support for stricter gun control measures since The Associated Press first asked the question in 2013.

Despite a soaring demand for tougher gun laws, translating the protests into legislative action is a question organizers and participants face. Nearly half of Americans don't expect elected officials to take action, according to the poll.

The issue is more about generating electoral power than persuading people with better ideas. "Nothing will change unless young and old who oppose the National Rifle Association (NRA) run for office, vote, help someone vote, register someone to vote or help fund someone's campaign," wrote Thomas Friedman on The New York Times.

Lawmakers seem to care more about funds for their election campaigns than innocent students gunned down in Florida, a sad truth in the US. According to media reports, the NRA spent $203.2 million for its candidates from 1998 to 2017, defeating advocates for tougher gun laws. Most congressmen won't risk losing in the elections by opposing the NRA. The campaign is more about a fight against the current US political system than the NRA itself.

In response to the protests, the NRA said on Facebook that the #MarchforOurLives campaign was orchestrated by "gun-hating billionaires and Hollywood elites… manipulating and exploiting children as part of their plan to DESTROY the Second Amendment and strip us of our right to defend ourselves and our loved ones."

The #MarchforOurLives events are extensively reported in China. Most of these reports, compiled from US media reports, stress that the Second Amendment, which gun advocates argue as the basic principles of a democratic country, is the core of the issue. However, with problems accumulating and an increasing number of people, including students, voicing opposition to the gun lobby, why can't adjustments be made?

We have gradually realized that the rampant gun violence in the US has its source in the country's capital group. Changes can be made in Washington, but have to be made in accordance with the interests of the country's capital groups. This is the root of the issue. From the #MarchforOurLives campaign, Chinese people have gained a greater understanding of US politics - the US is a country that is manipulated by money.

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